Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 436–446 | Cite as

Effects of Suicidal Ideation on Unmet Mental Health Needs Among Young Adults in Canada

  • Philip BaidenEmail author
  • Kofi Antwi-Boasiako
  • Wendy den Dunnen
Original Paper


Although there has been an increase in public health campaigns and initiatives aimed at preventing suicidal behaviors, suicide rates in Canada appear to be increasing particularly among young adults. Yet, few studies in Canada have examined the effect of suicidal ideation on unmet mental health needs among young adults. The objective of this study is to examine the association between suicidal ideation and unmet mental health needs, over and above predisposing, enabling, and need factors. This study uses data on 3393 young adults aged 20–29 years from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health (CCHS-MH). Binary logistic regression analysis was conducted with unmet mental health needs as the outcome variable and suicidal ideation as the main explanatory variable. Of the 3393 respondents, 8.8% had unmet mental health needs and 16.5% had suicidal ideation. In the multivariate logistic regression model, respondents who experienced suicidal ideation had 2.55 times higher odds of having unmet mental health needs. Respondents were also more likely to have unmet mental health needs if they are female, experienced childhood adversity, or were diagnosed with mental health disorders or cannabis abuse or dependence. Each additional unit increase in social support decreased the odds of unmet mental health needs by 11%. Community peer support programs for young adults may be beneficial in enhancing access to mental health particularly for at-risk individuals.


Unmet needs Suicidal ideation Mental health Young adults 



This manuscript is based data collected by Statistics Canada that was made publicly available to researchers. The views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the views of Statistics Canada. Dr. Baiden had full access to all of the data and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Author Contributions

PB conceptualized, designed, and executed the study and conducted the data analyses and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. KAB co-wrote the discussion section and responded to all revisions. WD reviewed the data analysis and provided critical commentary on the methodology and discussion section and responded to all revisions. All authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all respondents.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.School of PsychologyUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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